Final Thoughts

A couple of final thoughts on this winter's Australia-South Africa Tests.

1. Paul Harris has been given a hard time by many people since he came into the South African side. In particular I remember Geoff Boycott droning on about him like a broken record last summer.

But, as the wickets he's taken show, he has something. I'm not completely sure what, as he tends to look quite innocuous, but not everybody who succumbs to him does so in an ego-fuelled attempt to hit him out of the park (a la Kevin Pietersen). I think it's reasonable to assume that there are a few subtleties of flight and pace variation that aren't evident from the sidelines, and, at times, he turns it (just ask Michael Clarke). Since the end of isolation South Africa has failed to produce much in the way of decent spin bowling, and it's no coincidence that the rise of the side in the world rankings has accompanied the advances made by Harris.

He might just be one of those players who you keep expecting to get found out but who never quite does.

2. Mitchell Johnson currently looks like a cricketer of extraordinary ability and potential, and one who's sure to have a key influence on the Ashes series this summer. If his bowling - excellent though it clearly is - has an element of the mechanical about it, the same certainly can't be said of his magnificent batting, which has rare power, timing, style and, when the occasion demands, subtlety. His defence and shot selection both look quite sound as well, and while he has the look of the classic Australian hard wicket player who might struggle against the moving ball in England, if it's a dry, warm summer, he'll add a lot of potency to the Australian lower-middle order.

The question of where he'll bat in the longer term is an interesting one. With 35 and an unbeaten 123 from number eight at Newlands it's clear that that's far from too high. If he wants to - and this may depend on how his body copes with what's sure to remain a heavy workload with the ball - I see no obvious reason why he can't bat at seven, taking the place occupied in this series by Andrew McDonald and leaving room for the return of either Clark or Lee further down.

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